As promised, part 2 of my 23 new books booklist. It's a bit shorter this time around, as I've only been able to read sporadically between finishing my internship, packing up and selling/donating most of what I own, moving to Germany (!!!) and starting my semester, and starting preliminary research for my thesis in the last couple months. But here we go...
As before, though these links are from Amazon, I don't get any money from them. However, if you do decide to purchase these books (or anything else) on Amazon, please use Amazon Smile so that part of your purchase will go to a charity of your choice!
The Alice Network (Kate Quinn)
I found The Alice Network on the shelf of a Half Price Books in Houston, Texas. I arrived a day early for my internship, and after wandering around Rice University's campus in the sweltering heat for longer than my then-not-accustomed-to-so-much-humidity body could take, I stopped at the bookstore on my way back to my hostel because, well, I find it hard to walk past a bookstore without at least taking a look. This book wasn't a hard read, though it took me a while to actually finish thanks to an almost-immediate lack of free time, but was an interesting one. The Alice Network tells to parallel stories: that of Charlie St. Clair's journey to find her cousin, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the second world war, and that of Eve Gardiner, who very reluctantly joins Charlie on her quest and ultimately ends up seeking her own revenge en route.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple)
When in Rome... scour the hostel bookshelves for anything in English. I was pleasantly surprised to find this book, which I had only previously seen in a few friends' Instagram stories and whose cover intrigued me, on the shelf of the Orsa Maggiore Hostel for Women Only. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a comedic novel about a runaway architect told through the eyes of her daughter, 15-year-old Bee Branch, and a series of documents hinting at Bernadette's state of mind and current location. While ultimately this book is not necessarily something I'd read again, I was amused and constantly interested in how the plot twisted as the story continued.
The Pilgrimage (Paul Coelho)
After reading The Alchemist and loving it enough to include on my first booklist, I was very excited when my friend found this on the shelf of the Generator Hostel in Berlin Mitte. As someone who has "hike El Camino" on my bucket list and has read many a book about peoples' experiences with El Camino de Santiago, I was really looking forward to this tale. However, I have to say, I was not anywhere near as blown away with The Pilgrimage as I was with The Alchemist, or with any other pilgrimage-related books I have read. I found this novel to be a little too surreal and was frankly rather glad when I closed it for the last time. This being said, it wasn't the worst book I've read and perhaps I will give it another try someday. (If you want to chime in with what I'm missing and why I'm crazy for not loving this novel, be my guest.)
The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells)
The first time the thought of reading The Invisible Man went through my head was when I read The Book Thief in 7th grade. One of the novels that Liesel Meminger steals is The Invisible Man. I hadn't thought of this recently, until I was browsing the shelves of the Universität Leipzig library, hoping that something in English would catch my eye. Admittedly, I was not immediately drawn to the story. Not because of the far-fetched-ness of a man becoming invisible, but because I didn't feel particularly attached to the story or characters. In my efforts at procrastination, however, I finished the book within a few hours and admittedly did like it in the end (or perhaps it just felt good to read something non-academic for once). The novel is about a scientist who, in his research on optics, manages to turn himself invisible but is unable to reverse this change. In discovering that the disadvantages of being invisible seem to outweigh the advantages of being visible, essentially goes on a violent rampage that doesn't end well.